There are lots of problems in the world these days, and the complaint I’m about to share dealing with spoons is minor when compared to them. But it involves something that annoys me. And it’s something that can easily be remedied.
My beef? It’s the disappearance of the spoon from restaurant tables nationwide. I’ve been noticing that many restaurants are setting their tables with knives and forks but no spoons unless one orders soup.
I shouldn’t have to ask for a spoon but I often do because I don’t do well with baked beans, corn, gravy, cottage cheese and some other food items with a fork.
I’m a little shaky these days, and food often ends up falling off the fork back onto my plate or, worse yet, down the front of my shirt.
The lack of a spoon also is a problem when I order iced tea. I sweeten it with artificial sweetener, and the lack of a spoon causes me to stir it with my knife or fork. That’s tacky.
In the past, restaurants gave iced tea drinkers long-handled spoons to make stirring easier. But that often is no longer the case.
I’ve tried numerous times to figure out why many restaurants leave their spoons in the kitchen and put only knives and forks on the table. So I went to my computer and typed this question into Google: “Why do restaurants provide knives and forks but no spoons to customers?”
I didn’t find a good answer to that but I did soon learn that I’m not the only one who has a complaint about the lack of spoons. And to my surprise the complaint is not a new one.
A July 2008 post in a blog, chowhound.chow.com, calls the lack of spoons an “aggravating trend” that started in chain restaurants and has moved into independent restaurants.
“The first few times it happened,” wrote the blogger, “I thought it was an oversight, especially when I ordered coffee later in the meal and was left with no way to stir in the sugar I added.
“But it is no oversight. It often happens to me in restaurants where they roll the silverware into a napkin or paper napkin. You don’t notice it until later in the meal when you need to spoon some sauce over a meat entre, etc.”
In January 2011, Tucker Shaw of the Denver Post wrote, “Dozens of visits to restaurants in Denver and beyond over the past few months reveal that the spoon, once a reliable fixture at the table, has become remarkably rare.”
I favor the opinion of someone Shaw quoted named Pat Perry, a chef and restaurant owner.
“We always set spoons,” said Perry. “As a cook, I love to see folks use their spoons to catch every last flavor. Spoons need to stay for those of us who love chow all the way to the last bite.”
And, I might add, for those of us who like to keep our shirts clean.
Copyright 2015 by Phil Roberts, Creative Enterprises. Submitted as a column to The North Scott Press, Eldridge, Iowa.